Black tea is probably the most popular drink in the world beside coffee. The beverage first rose to popularity during the transition between the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty in China around 1590. Before that, the Chinese would only traditionally drink oolong and green tea. According to a legend, the invention of black tea was an accident. It happened when a band of army stopped the production of green tea in a factory. Because of the interruption, the tea leaves were exposed to the sun for a longer time than it was intended to be and the oxidation process occurred. It turned the color into reddish or blackish and the taste into slightly more aromatic. This was how the first black tea, or known as Lapsang Souchong back then, discovered. However, “black tea” was a term coined later by Dutch and British traders.
Black tea can be made from any type of tea as long as the leaves are dried under the sun for a longer time. The processing of the tea is what sets it apart from other types of tea. However, the most prominent and widely available kinds of black tea are produced from Camellia sinensis and Camellia assamica.
Black tea is very nutritious. In fact, a 100-g serving of black tea contains the powerful antioxidant theaflavin, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, sodium, a whopping 37 mg of potassium, a little amount of fluoride, and many other important nutrients.
1. Boosts Cardiovascular Health
Your heart is a very vital part of your body. It pumps oxygenated blood to every inch of the body, making your other organs and each cell in you function well. It also removes the toxic carbon dioxide from your system. For this reason, your heart needs to be perfectly healthy to avoid dangerous complications. Fortunately, you can take black tea regularly to keep your heart well-functioning. The flavones that are present in the tea can maintain and improve cardiovascular health.
It is confirmed by multiple scientific studies that drinking 3 cups of black tea or more every day can lower the risk of coronary heart problems. Some other studies also found that the consumption of black tea is associated with the decreased mortality by ischemia, myocardial infarction, and other cardiovascular problems. According to the latest study published in 2017, black tea is revealed to have a positive impact on heart health. Among the 350.000 women and men ranging from 30-79 years old in China who regularly consume black tea for seven years, it is shown that they have a lowered risk of suffering from ischaemic heart disease and other major coronary events compared to other population who don’t consume black tea. Black tea achieves this by reducing the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, including the triglyceride levels and the ration of LDL to HDL cholesterol.
Black tea may also prevent atherosclerosis, which is the blockage of the artery walls due to the plaque buildup. Atherosclerosis is a dangerous health condition because it may lead to severe coronary heart disease. The biggest factor that is behind this condition is the free radicals in the body. Scientists at the University of Maryland published a study in 2004 which found the link of antioxidants in black tea and the reduced activities of free radicals that contribute to atherosclerosis. According to the study, drinking three cups of tea every day can reduce atherosclerosis risk up to 11 percent.
2. Helps The Fight Against Cancer
People who are battling with cancer are among those who will be benefited from regular consumption of black tea. This is because the consumption of black tea may prevent or reduce the risks of certain cancers. A 2013 study in American Journal of Epidemiology mentioned the effect of black tea on prostate cancer. The flavonoid-rich drink was taken by among 58.000 men in the Netherlands who reported some cancer risk factors. At the end of the study, the researchers mentioned that the consumption of black tea reduces the risk of prostate cancer risk. The black tea intake is particularly good to fight cancerous cells because it contains multiple flavonoids like catechin, kaempferol, myritecin, and epicatechin. The tea reduced the lower risk of late-stage prostate cancer but didn’t seem to have any associations with earlier stages of cancer.
The Netherlands study was not the only study published on the subject. In 2016, scientists published the result of their study on how theaflavin-3 that is present in black tea fiercely fought the development of ovarian cancer cells, including the cells that are resistant to cisplatin. This result is impressive as cisplatin is said to be the among the top most effective anticancer medicines. Moreover, the theaflavin-3 is also found to contain fewer toxins that won’t harm healthy ovarian cells. This is a very impressive findings considering that many anticancer drugs kill both healthy and cancerous cells.
The National Cancer Institute also cited a finding that suggested that tea contains polyphenols that can reduce the growth of the tumor. Similar to green tea, drinking black tea regularly can reduce the risk of cancer because of its antioxidant properties that fight free radicals. However, black tea effects apply to fewer kinds of cancer. According to the studies, the black tea is most effective on prostate, bladder, and lung cancer. Black tea can also reduce the risk of ovarian cancer because of its theaflavins content.
Despite those promising study results, some other studies also suggested that black tea may weaken and slow down the effect of chemotherapy as a cancer treatment by stimulating the genes that can reduce cells’ sensitivity to the therapy. The studies on this matter are conflicting so this shouldn’t be the only treatment people take to treat cancer. What is agreed by scientists is that drinking around six cups of tea every day can strengthen the status of antioxidants?
3. Reduces Diabetes Risks
Diabetes is one of many chronic health conditions that should be feared by many people since its presence is ever-growing around the world. People with type-2 diabetes needs to be very careful in their sugar and carbs intake if they don’t want serious complications to arise. Fortunately, fighting diabetes can be as simple as drinking black tea every day. A study in the journal Diabetologia looked at the relationship between tea consumption and the progress of type-2 diabetes. It was a longitudinal research with over 40.000 participants in the duration of 10 years. Based on the study, the researchers found that drinking tea and coffee might result in the reduction of type-2 diabetes risk. The relationship was clearly shown among the research participants. To be specific, those who drink at least three cups of tea or coffee every day have their type-2 diabetes risk lowered by around 42%. Because of this, black tea should be a part of your diet if you are concerned about diabetes or are already showing diabetic symptoms.
4. Prevents Strokes
Along with heart diseases, stroke is also a fatal condition that can be prevented by drinking black tea regularly. A daily consumption of the tea may significantly lower the risk of ischemic stroke, according to a study published in 2009. The researchers found that those who took at least three cups of tea daily experienced a decrease in stroke risk by around 21% when compared to other test subjects who consumed less than a cup of black or green tea each day.
5. Soothes An Upset Stomach
An upset stomach may seldom be a life-threatening condition, but it is still dangerous and can even be paralyzing if the pain is intense. And if you also experience diarrhea along with the upset stomach, then you probably need a cup of strong black tea to alleviate the pain and reduce diarrhea. A cup of black tea contains tannins that possess an astringent effect that works on your intestinal lining. This will provide a calming effect and soothe the inflammation in the intestines. As a result, your diarrhea will be reduced.
However, the caffeine content of the cup of black tea may also make you dehydrated. You may be concerned about this if you are already suffering from the loss of liquid due to diarrhea. You can choose a cup of decaffeinated black tea instead. Black tea, both as a beverage and in tablets, is very effective at managing acute nonbacterial diarrhea. It is also not expensive and safe to use even for kids.
6. Possesses Antibacterial Properties
Beside soothes nonbacterial diarrhea and upset stomach, black tea also possesses strong antibacterial characteristics. According to researchers, the phenolic compounds and tannins in black tea have a potent ability to prevent the growth of some bacteria. Tannins are toxic against fungi, bacteria, and yeasts while phenolic compounds have lethal antimicrobial activities. In addition, it is easy for human’s gastrointestinal tract to absorb the non-polymeric phenolic compounds. As a result, it is very effective for these antibacterial components to be taken orally. This is the reason why some people consume a cup of strong black tea with honey to treat the symptoms of H.pylori bacteria infection that can trigger ulcers.
7. Reduces The Level of Stress Hormones
One of the most powerful benefits of black tea is the ability to ease stress. Coffee is also a mood-altering beverage, but for some people, the energetic effect of coffee comes with jittery effects. On the contrary, tea has a good reputation as a drink with a more balanced caffeine effects. Aside from improving energy levels, it can also be very relaxing and stress relieving. Multiple studies by researchers around the world have confirmed that black tea can bring down the level of stress hormones, for example, cortisol, and reduce the drinkers daily stress levels.
According to one particular study, black tea is more potent at reducing stress level compared to other caffeinated drinks with no other similar substances to the tea. The experiment had 75 healthy tea drinkers that were split into two groups drink different types of beverages: the first group took the caffeinated black tea while the other drank another caffeinated-beverage with similar taste but no other active tea compounds present. Then, a stress-inducing situation was tested on the subject mimicking the stress of everyday life. The researchers analyzed the levels of stress hormones, blood pressure, and heart rate. What were the findings of the study? Unsurprisingly, those who drank the real black tea experienced a reduction in their levels of cortisol hormones compared to the other group. The people in this group were also more relaxed and reported less stress. In addition to this stress-lowering property, the group who drink real black tea also experienced a lower activation of blood platelet. This reduces the risk of blood clot formation and heart attack.
8. Promotes Stronger Immune System
The antioxidants in black tea can help you fight the free oxygen radicals by stabilizing them. These oxygen radicals can be dangerous for your health as it disrupts the normal function of cells and mutates DNA. As a result, the inflammation will happen in your cells and tissues, leading to chronic and potentially fatal diseases. The activation of the inflammatory pathways in your body can also put your body in a constant state of stress. More stress will lead to more inflammation and this continuous circle will hamper your health. You will also be vulnerable to contagious diseases. Because of this, you need to control the free radicals in your body by consuming enough antioxidants. Drinking black tea is one of the best things you can do to get rid of these oxygen radicals. Thereby, it also restores your normal body functions and boosts your immune system.
9. Promotes Healthy Bones
Bones are important body organs that support and protect the other organs in your body. Unfortunately, as you get older, the density of your bones will decline along with its strength and function. Weak bones will make you unable to perform your daily routines as easily as it was when you were younger. Fortunately, you can boost your bones health by drinking black tea regularly. According to scientists, the people who regularly drink black tea can have their bone density restored since black tea can substitute the loss calcium. When your bone density is good, the risk of fractures which is a common problem in elderly will also be reduced. You no longer have to fear osteoporosis and all discomforts that it brings. For this reason, it is recommended that people over 30 years old drink black tea as a part of their daily diet to promote stronger and healthier bones.
10. Boosts Cognitive Functions
Your brain may also be benefited from a regular consumption of black tea. Black tea may improve your cognitive functions in many ways. First, it is a good beverage to drink for people with short attention spans as is improves mental alertness. According to the study published by some scientists in The Netherlands, the subjects who drank black tea regularly had the best attention span as well as better visual and auditory attention. This is due to the L-theanine in the tea that can modulate brain functions and stimulate human attention mechanism.
Black tea may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Based on a 2017 study published in Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging by researchers at the University of Singapore, people who drink at least three cups of black or green tea daily will have a lower risk of dementia compared to other older adults who don’t by around 50%. Moreover, those who are genetically at risk for suffering from Alzheimer’s disease may also have their risk reduced by a whopping 86%. This research confirmed the earlier studies discovered that drinking tea regularly is associated with a better cognitive performance.
The neuroprotective effect of black tea’s polyphenols also reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease. These neuroprotective properties will be effective only when the tea leaves are brewed loose or in tea bags, or in other words, consumed as tea beverages.
11. Aids Weight Loss Program
Being overweight and obese is not only a matter of appearance. Obesity is, in fact, the root cause of multiple chronic and life-threatening diseases including diabetes, high cholesterol problems, and even heart diseases. Just like green tea, a cup of black tea is the perfect drink to aid your weight loss program. The regular consumption of tea along with a set of healthy diet and other lifestyle changes can help you lose some weight. According to some Californian researchers, the tea can inhibit the activity of inflammation-inducing genes and therefore reduce the amount of visceral fat. Because prolonged inflammation may contribute to weight gain, regular consumption of black tea may reduce inflammation-induced obesity. In addition, drinking black tea can also reduce the levels of your body triglyceride.
12. Promotes Healthy Digestive Function
Black tea can also boost the overall health of your digestive function. A healthy gut is important because it can protect you against various diseases. Your gut is home to a number of bacteria creating a balanced ecosystem for the best function of your body. You can maintain the balance and improve your gut health by consuming black tea. Black health can cultivate the growth of good gut microbe. It is believed by scientists that the polyphenols in tea can act as prebiotic which promotes the growth of good gut bacteria. Moreover, polyphenols also inhibit the growth of bad bacteria that can mess with the balance of your gut microbe system. Because of this, it can treat stomach ulcers effectively and reduce the risk of colorectal and stomach cancers.
13. Boosts Oral Health
Most of the time, brushing your teeth every day is not enough to maintain an excellent oral health. Your oral health is an important matter to take care of if you don’t want to suffer dental problems like cavities or a toothache. Besides maintaining a healthy routine that is instructed by your dentist to protect your teeth and mouth, you can also consume black tea regularly to boost your oral health. It will protect your teeth against cavities, dental plaque, and decay. Moreover, it also makes your breath fresher.
These positive effects are due to the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of black tea that ensures the hygiene of your teeth. It prevents staphylococcus and other bacterial infections. In addition, black tea also contains fluoride that can stop the development of dental caries. This combination of positive characteristics makes black tea the perfect beverage to incorporate into your routine as a method to promote oral health.
14. Promotes Healthy and Beautiful Skin
Skin is the largest organ of your body with many functions. The organ is constantly at work but it needs proper care because of the delicacy. Your skin is always exposed to the environment that often is not hygienic. Microbial colonization can lead to skin infections. Because of this, you need to protect yourself by regularly consuming a substance with antimicrobial properties. Black tea’s flavonoids and catechins can help you achieve this result. Moreover, its polyphenols and other antioxidants can fight free radicals and prevent premature aging. These compounds will prevent the formation of wrinkles and dark spots that are the first symptoms of aging. Compared to other types of tea, the anti-wrinkle agent in black tea is more potent. The richness in antioxidants also automatically reduces the risk of skin cancer.
Black tea can also alleviate eye puffiness that can be a serious concern for aesthetics. Puffy eyes make you seem tired and lack of energy. Try applying some bags of black tea under your eyes for around 20 minutes each day to see a decrease in eye puffiness in no time.
15. Treats Hair Loss
Hair fall and premature balding is a disturbing problem that can make you lose confidence real quick. The good news is that drinking black tea will make you fight hair loss from the inside. The antioxidants in black tea reduce inflammation and stress that contribute to premature hair loss. Moreover, the fermentation of black tea and Aspergillus sp. may boost hair growth when applied topically. Your hair will also be shinier and looks more alive when you do this treatment along with drinking the tea every day.